Two Canadians, including diplomat, killed in mall mass shooting in Kenya
Annemarie Desloges, 29, was working for the Canadian government in Nairobi, Kenya. (Facebook photo)
Two Canadians have been killed in an attack on an upscale mall in Kenya’s capital Saturday.
One of the dead has been identified as 29-year-old Annemarie Desloges, a Canadian diplomat. The identity of the other Canadian has not been released.
“The hearts and prayers of all Canadians go out to the families and friends of all those affected by this senseless tragedy, and we extend our deepest condolences to those suffering the loss of Annemarie Desloges, one of our diplomats who has died in the attack,” Harper said in a statement.
The statement also said Desloges was a “distinguished public servant” working as a liaison officer with the Canadian Border Services Agency in Kenya.
Desloges came to Kenya two years ago from an embassy in New Delhi. She had worked for the Canadian government since 2008.
She is survived by her husband Robert Munk, who was also injured in the attack.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird offered his condolences Saturday to the families of the deceased when speaking at the Ontario Progressive Conservative party convention in London, Ont.
“That people could be gunned down in broad daylight in a shopping mall on a weekend is just a tremendous tragedy. And obviously when you have someone who is serving their country abroad, it's quite devastating," Baird said.
“When anyone is killed in a terrorist incident, it deeply affects us. But when it's a Canadian, it hits home. And when it's someone is government, obviously it just shakes us to the core.”
Baird said Canada, in partnership with other countries, must work to fight terrorism worldwide.
“It's a joint effort. No government can tackle this problem on its own.”
In a prepared statement, Baird, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney also paid tribute to public servants serving the country around the world.
“Like Annemarie, they do so because they believe in the cause of humanity,” they said. “They believe that their work will better the lives of many at home and around the world. They believe in the values that Canada represents.
“We have no doubt that Annemarie touched the lives of many, and it is for that, that she will always be remembered.”
In a statement, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar also offered his condolences to the victims’ families and denounced the attack.
Brutal attack on major mall
Kenya’s president says 59 people died and more than 150 were wounded when armed gunmen stormed the upscale mall.
An al Qaeda-linked militant group from Somali, al-Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Harper said the “cowardly, hateful act” should not go unpunished.
“Canadian staff at our mission are offering Kenyan authorities every possible assistance to bring the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice.”
In light of Saturday’s attack, Canada’s Foreign Affairs department urged Canadians in Kenya to avoid public places for the next 24-48 hours.
While there is no nationwide advisory in effect for Kenya, the update urged a “high degree of caution due to the increasing number of terrorist acts, kidnappings and incidents of crime targeting Westerners throughout the country."
Regional advisories for the northeast part of the country and the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Nairobi are also in place.
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press